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Re: [xsl] xsl-fo and professional publishing

Subject: Re: [xsl] xsl-fo and professional publishing
From: "Eliot Kimber ekimber@xxxxxxxxxxxx" <xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 21:06:24 -0000

I'm happy to be proven wrong on my no-FO-in-publishing assertion--mine is
based on what I've seen in my Publishing clients, but then I have those
clients largely because they don't already have a good XML solution, so
there's very likely some selection bias there.

Liam: are you able to disclose who any of these larger publishers are? I
don't doubt your assertion, just curious who they are.

It does make sense that for fiction, in particular, it would be entirely
realistic to use XSL-FO and some relatively simple parameterization of
details like page geometry, fonts, and chapter opener decoration to
produce good-quality books.


Eliot Kimber, Owner
Contrext, LLC

On 6/13/14, 3:48 PM, "Liam R E Quin liam@xxxxxx"
<xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>On Fri, 2014-06-13 at 13:10 +0000, jfrm.maurel@xxxxxxxxx
>jfrm.maurel@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I wonder whether xml + xsl + xsl-fo is a current practise in
>> professional publishing for technical books at least in Europe.
>To give a counterpoint to Eliot's response, XSL-FO is very, very widely
>used in professional publishing; the largest publishers use XSL-FO (and
>in some cases XHTML + CSS) for most of their fiction and mainstream
>There are relatively few publishers using it, but between them they
>produce most of the books you see - although there's much more diversity
>in Europe than in the USA in that regard.
>The reasons are (1) they need to produce lots of books that look
>similar; (2) they need to produce ebooks in XHTML, not just PDF (e.g.
>for Kindle); (3) they need to minimise hand-work.
>Viable alternatives for a single book include Scribus (open source),
>XHTML + CSS (but the formatters that are good enough are expensive and
>for technical work there are severe limitations; however, that's what
>O'Reilly is now doing), Adobe InDesign or Framemaker, and many other
>tools. It's *possible* to use MS Word, but you need a lot of discipline,
>and at the end of the process making an ebook will be a pain although
>there are products to help.
>There's even at least one course taught on using XSL-FO for publishers,
>at the Stuttgart media centre.
>Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
>Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
>Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org freenode/#xml

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